Label: Centipede Farm
Keywords: Experimental, Ambient, Field Recording
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
I’ve been looking forward greatly to reviewing this tape! It was sent to me in the mail by Sara Sci-fi and it is of her project Nyhos with Jukka-Pekka Kervinen. There is not much in the world that is better than receiving a tape of abstract noise that looks like it’s covered in colourful street art. It’s a collection of two Nyhos works, the A side being Walking And Chanting, the B side being Brainwaves/Five Elements. What follows are my experiences with all of the music.
The first track on the Walking And Chanting side is titled ‘Kissing Cousins’, which begins as an intensely layered soundscape in which I hear a piano loop, several strange electronic noises being modulated and wrecked, ambient guitar like a night under moonlight on a beach in SoCal, bottomless drum glitch voids. It’s a beautiful sonic sensory input overload.
This is followed by ‘I Move Around This Chanting Meadow’. It begins with a deep, melancholy chord pad, very nice sounding, and over this are several strange electronic noises, some sounding percussive and others like R2-D2 on the fritz. Something is being battered, but it’s kind of hard to tell. The ambient sounds grow, take hold of your ears. I love the randomatic bleeps and bloops of a synthesizer I’m hearing. Liquid washer/dryer loops, an acoustic drum stomp, and those pads like a lonely aerial trip to the moon. Halfway through this 10-minute-something track, the pads drop away leaving us with the bizarre arhythmic junkyard of noise. This eventually settles into a hypnotic groove, then onto it are added some really mental electro feedback synths, strange effect modulations. These artists… I’ve now twice become impressed by Sara Sci-Fi’s work, and now Jukka-Pekka Kervinen’s as well within this project, the absolutely mind-melting and fascinating sonic array that they create very well showcases their expertise in noise music and abstract sound manipulation/synthesis. The electronoise becomes more corrosive, bent sounding.
‘Euler Birds’ sounds much more harsh, lofi, like bird recordings under a layer of very audible white noise static. Some amazing digital-sounding abstract harmonic bell loops come in, cutting out every so often (I love that) and we hear occasional bits of percussive noise. Soon enough phasers seem to overtake everything, a deep low onset of wind comes on momentarily, then everything fades into a phasing, deepspace cavern before returning. Still, the sound profile seems to shift perceptibly often, a loud scratch of white noise and record-skipping sound is added, the bells become intense. Squeaking noises enter the mix, along with other crackling harsh bits of sound.
Next are the ‘Waterfalls Of Ithaca’, sounding at first… actually like a pretty good replication of waterfalls, even pretty well nailing the VOLUME! It sounds almost mechanical after a bit, like a gallop of harsh, distorted electronic trickles or the flapping wings of a thousand dead birds.
Speaking of birds, next is ‘Painting Live Sparrows’, with a background of shuffling, resonant and reverberating noise with a deep bass kick / hat combination. The noise seems to move from background to foreground, a rummaging through pool table cracks, applause, broken pinball circuitry, destroyed machinery and other abstract sounds run through multiple effects. A drone lies beneath, and occasionally I hear a sine-wave tone lurking. Toward the end the rhythm feels very electro, similar to a CompuRhythm.
Then it’s a beautiful loop of electronics and strange noises on ‘Sparrows Continued’, probably my favourite piece so far, like a chill jungle of electro and vibraphone or bell lead prettiness! So gorgeous! Nyhos are masters. Sometimes it’s hard to believe what you’re hearing and this is one of those times. Ends with white noise run through a phaser, very low.
Afterward comes ‘Hill Fathoms’, a damaged loop of electronic noise rhythm… ambient softness unfolds, with… such pretty flute sounds. This is another of my favourites. I love this kind of sound, a beautiful mix of noise/rhythmic noise and lush ambient music, one of the most effective juxtapositions. The wild electro sounds grow louder, then for a moment a rock music sound creeps up, then fades away. The effects and throbbing electronoise lull you into an unshakeable trance, time begins to drift without you realizing it. Spellbinding.
It’s definitely a jungle on ‘Drunken Waltz’, soft screaming animals, a distorted smooth noise/electro groove, jazz piano and ambient soundscapes make up most of what I’m hearing. Wow!
The final piece on this side is ‘Neon Baseball Along The Coral Reef’. It starts with a wall of noise, adds a repeating piano chord hit, a surreal, choir-like ambient texture… very wonderful sounding! It feels like you’re soaring blankly into a white-light post death, abstract but very warm, embracing, alien. Liquid noises, shining and bright for a moment at the end with what sounded like a quick shot of some europop clip. What an adventure! Yet there is still one more side to go.
Brainwaves/Five Elements begins on side B with the track ‘Alpha #2’. A noisy burst of electronic bass hits you on one side, while a harsh layer of feedback disrupts and disorients you on the other. There’s also another beepscape of science-fiction awesomeness that comes in.
Then it’s ‘Birthing Rituals #2’, and here it feels like we’re being buried in utero with deep, droning feedback under low-pass filters, tons of echoing, resonant sounds, laboratory beep tones, electro harmonics. I love the two panned and distorted melodic electronics that come in. This is beyond experimental, beyond ingenuous noise, into the category of what at least seems to me to be abstract electronic music perfected. An electro groove comes in, laying low in the mix, while the synthesizers growl and echo out.
‘Interlude #1’ comes on harsh, screaming and reverb-intensive. Synthesizers and destructive samples are scuffling in the mix.
‘Swift And Bend’ then comes in, sounding like shrilly bright ambient pads with a searing noise something like a steel drill-bit burrowing through metal sending sparks across our eardrums. A nice, harmonica-esque sound comes in too, but then it cuts out…
… going straight into ‘Placenta Voidal’, another noise track sounding like low overdrive and feedback. It gets suddenly stereofied, then one side begins cutting in and out for a little while before the feedback begins shifting.
Harsh blasts of feedback come in then on ‘Interlude #2’, wailing and burning your ears off.
‘Several Nicities’ is like a low, feedback-intensive drone, with growing distortion noisescapes. There’s a burst of acid-tinged bass that comes in at times. The track is thick with feedback and echoing, cavernous noise frequencies. A slightly distorted, corrupted and warbling drone floods up the mix about halfway through, then becoming more like a sizzling, static-laden radio frequency run through an amplifier. This is then disrupted by bellowing, chasmic electronics with periodic lapses into quiet, hissing white noise.
Next is ‘Which Five Fragrance’, another harsh noise piece with destructive layers of sound compiled. It has several gaps here and there during which the noise falls away into silence.
Then comes ‘Interlude #3’. It’s perpetually changing, chameleonic noise lasting only a short moment.
Last is ‘Velicion’, a deep, analogue-sounding drone with strange, crunched up frequency vibrations, a sort of sickly energy like dried mucous or dust. Chirping synths break through, echo. I hear layers of Metroid-type synthesizer sounds, modified church bell tones, distorted rotaries. Hollow, ringing headquakes. I keep staring at the centipede on the Bandcamp page, expecting it to come alive and crawl off while the synth sequences play. Good thing I’m not on hallucinogenic drugs or sleep depping too bad. A great finish to a varied album!
So wow… let me tell you, this is a really cool work. I think I preferred side A overall, but both were pretty awesome. Naturally, the tape is the way to go, so pick up a copy at the link below if you can or go for the digital copy and name your own price. Cheers!